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Plagiarism and fraud

Violations  |  References and quotation  |  Sanctions  |  Tips  |  FAQ


A degree from HEC Montréal must stand as a testament to a graduate’s high level of education and ethical behaviour. Plagiarism distorts the evaluation process, thereby lowering the value of degrees conferred by HEC Montréal while tarnishing the school’s reputation, to the detriment of students past, present and future.  

Do you want to be associated with an institution where other students plagiarize to boost their grades? Do you realize that the recognition of your hard-earned academic achievements is at stake? Won’t society question the ethics of your own behaviour, both during your studies and after you entered the labour market?

Academic integrity is one of HEC Montréal’s core values, which the school makes every effort to defend and promote.


 Academic violations and fraud

Academic violations
Under Article 12 of the academic rules and regulations, “a violation is defined as any act committed in order to falsify academic performance on an evaluation, any attempt to commit such an act, or any involvement in such an act.”


  • Glancing at another student’s exam,
  • Using prohibited documentation during an exam or quiz,
  • Failing to reference or quote, in accordance with established practice, the sources of documentation used in any work submitted.


Fraud refers to any act involving the modification or falsification of an official document.

Any modification or falsification of a document:

  • supporting a candidate’s application for admission,
  • entitling the student to special treatment in his or her course of study, or
  • listing the student’s grades or degrees,
  • the use of another student’s files in any work submitted.

Refer to section 12.1 of the academic rules and regulations for the complete regulations governing plagiarism and fraud.

  References and quotations

A large number of plagiarism cases involve poorly referenced document sources and quotations. We encourage you to consult the Citer ses sources library guide (in French) developed by the reference service at the HEC Montréal library.

The following clarifications should help you better understand the various forms plagiarism can take.

Keep in mind that the teacher’s objective is to evaluate what you have learned. You must therefore clearly identify all information derived from another, external source so that the teacher can distinguish between that information and your personal contribution.

If you quote from another person’s text, you must:

  • use quotation marks to highlight the passage in question, and
  • cite the reference, using either a footnote or the author/date method to indicate the reference within the text, so the teacher or any other reader may easily locate the original text.

If you do not include an actual quotation but are conveying in your own words the essential arguments of another person’s text, you must:

  • indicate this in your development, and
  • cite the reference so the teacher or any other reader may easily locate the original text.   



Sanctions range from a warning letter to expulsion from the program. The most common sanctions are a grade of zero (0) on the work submitted or a failing grade for the entire course.

At the Master’s level, the default sanction is a course failure. At the PhD level, an act of plagiarism usually leads to suspension or expulsion.

A repeat violation generally leads to expulsion.

In the case of work submitted as part of a team project, where the academic rules and regulations are deemed to have been violated, all members of the team are jointly liable.

Refer to section 12.3 of the academic rules and regulations for more on the possible sanctions.




  • Stress

Stress is often cited as the underlying reason for an act of plagiarism. Although it is easy to see how stress might lead a student to consider resorting to plagiarism, being under stress in no way justifies the act. It is therefore up to you to organize your academic work in such a way as to minimize stressful situations. For instance, avoid waiting until the last minute to write your papers.
Plagiarism is not a solution to organization problems. If you experience such problems, consider taking part in one of the school’s study support workshops, which are given by people who can help you organize your work.


  • Research skills

Having strong research skills will make your academic life much easier. From the moment you begin your research, document your sources clearly. Thereafter, when drafting your paper, take care to locate and identify everything you are quoting, as well as any other person’s thoughts.
Once again, you should refer to the Citer ses sources library guide (in French) developed by the HEC Montréal library reference service to help you better conduct your document research and clearly understand the procedures you need to follow at HEC Montréal.

  • Teams: vigilance

If, in contributing to a team project, a member of that team violates the academic rules and regulations, the sanction will in most cases apply to all members. As such, be vigilant when choosing your teammates and discussing their contributions. Moreover, be considerate of the other members of your team, as they will all pay for your misconduct.



Here are a few examples of how and why you could be accused of plagiarism.

+  I have taken prohibited documentation into an exam, but I am not using it.

Simply being in possession of prohibited documentation is a violation.

+  I used documents posted on the Web (newspaper or journal articles, videos, Web sites, etc.) without referencing them.

To properly evaluate what the student has learned, the teacher must clearly be able to identify the student’s original contribution.

+  I took a complete excerpt from a Web (or print) document, inserted it into my paper and cited the source in a footnote.

Not only must the source be specified, but the excerpt must be placed in quotation marks.

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